The English Toy Terrier is one of the oldest native English breeds. It has been known by a variety of names over time, including the miniature Black and Tan, the Toy Manchester Terrier in North America; to its current name of English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) which was designated by the K.C. in 1961. The breed can clearly trace its ancestry back to the small Black and Tan ratting terriers noted as far back as the 16th century.
Their unparalleled ability to rapidly dispatch vermin made them very popular in English towns and cities during the Industrial Revolution.
Their inbuilt rat killing instinct made them equally as popular in the rat pits of the time, where rat baiting was a regular pastime until it was outlawed in the 1850’s.
The criminalisation of rat baiting led to a downturn in the popularity of the breed for a while between 1850 and 1870.
Popularity did regain a little towards the end of the 19th century as it became fashionable to own a “dandy” little dog. This fad drove a desire for elegance and miniaturisation and breeders started to experiment with the influence of other breeds such as Italian Greyhound and Chihuahua, which resulted in the more elegant fine boned black and tan breed with candle flame ears we know today.
However, despite the reduction in size and the finer bone the English Toy Terrier is still able to acquit themselves as a dispatcher of vermin.
Despite being classified as a Toy breed they continue to exhibit true terrier characteristics.